Review: ‘Daryl Sherman Swinging With Strings’

In her return to the Oak Room for Arthur Pomposello's annual summer jazz series, Daryl Sherman encores the subtle jazz phrasing of her politely lean and tasteful piano, and sings in a light whispery voice as gentle and comforting as a sweet summer breeze. Admitting to being locked in a time warp.

In her return to the Oak Room for Arthur Pomposello’s annual summer jazz series, Daryl Sherman encores the subtle jazz phrasing of her politely lean and tasteful piano, and sings in a light whispery voice as gentle and comforting as a sweet summer breeze. Admitting to being locked in a time warp, singing tunes associated with Carmen Miranda, Mildred Bailey and Bing Crosby, Sherman takes on Tin Pan Alley with an agreeably casual intimacy. The end result is a sunny, genteel delight.

Bailey, the focus of a new Mosaic 10-CD box collection, was an ungimmicky, no-nonsense singer, and Sherman was the first to give her a long overdue nod with her l997 Audiophile CD “Celebrating Mildred Bailey.” Drawing from the repertoire, Sherman encores Hoagy Carmichael’s “What Kind o’ Man Is You?” and the ardent old operetta plea “Lover, Come Back to Me.”

As with Bailey, there is a decided purity in Sherman’s feathery directness.

Getting a jump on the many upcoming Richard Rodgers centennial celebrations and the eagerly awaited Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!,” Sherman sings “Many a New Day” with heart-stopping delicacy. She invests the Hammerstein lyric “not one to look back to sigh over the romance behind me” with confident spirit and bracing purity.

The jazz bird gets her Latin kicks with her own fanciful jilted romance, “Something Brazilian,” and the Jimmy McHugh/Al Dubin “South American Way,” the first Broadway samba to crown Ms. Miranda with a plentiful assortment of bananas and grapes. The tandem travelogue becomes Sherman’s own tutti-frutti carnival.

Show also includes a rather hurried medley of tunes associated with Crosby, spurred by the recent publication of Gary Giddens’ new bio “A Pocketful of Dreams.” Playful fragments from more than a dozen of the crooner’s trademark tunes come spiraling forth in a kind of meandering grouping, including guitarist Gene Bertoncini’s flowery “Love in Bloom” and bassist Jay Leonhart — himself a composer of witty novelty tunes — lending droll cowpoke takes on “South of the Border” and “I’m an Old Cowhand.” Medley only takes shape when Sherman sings the jaunty Crosby rallying cries of the Depression years: “Pennies From Heaven,” “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” and “I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store).”

Sherman’s amusing and spare patter provides just enough information to segue into song, and she is solidly grounded by Leonhart’s bold bass lines and the lyrical grace of Bertoncini’s guitar.

Daryl Sherman Swinging With Strings

Oak Room, Algonquin; 85 capacity; $50

Production

Presented inhouse. Opened July 24, 2001, reviewed Aug. 3. Closes Aug. 11.

Cast

Band: Jay Leonhart, Gene Bertoncini.
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